1st may, 1863 (Friday).
I called on General Scurry
, and found him suffering from severe ophthalmia.
When I presented General Magruder
's letter, he insisted that I should come and live with him so long as I remained here.
He also telegraphed to Galveston
for a steamer to take me there and back.
We dined at 4 P. M.: the party consisted of Colonel
and Judge Terrill
(a clever and agreeable man), Colonel Pyron
, Captain Wharton
, Major Watkins
(a handsome fellow, and hero of the Sabine
Pass affair), and Colonel Cook
, commanding the artillery at Galveston
(late of the U. S. navy, who enjoys the reputation of being a zealous Methodist preacher and a daring officer). The latter told me he could hardly understand how I could be an Englishman, as I pronounced my h's all right.
himself is very amusing, and is an admirable mimic.
His numerous anecdotes of the war were very interesting.
In peace times he is a lawyer.
He was a volunteer major in the Mexican
war, and distinguished himself very much in the late campaigns in New Mexico
, and at the recapture of Galveston
After dinner, the Queen
's health was proposed; and
the party expressed the greatest admiration for Her Majesty, and respect for the British Constitution.
They all said that universal suffrage did not produce such deplorable results in the South
as in the North
; because the population in the South
is so very scattered, and the whites being the superior race, they form a sort of aristocracy.
They all wanted me to put off going to Galveston
till Monday, in order that some ladies might go; but I was inexorable, as it must now be my object to cross the Mississippi
All these officers despised sabres, and considered double-barrelled shot-guns and revolvers the best arms for cavalry.
2d may, 1863 (Saturday).
As the steamer had not arrived in the morning, I left by railroad for Galveston
insisted upon sending his servant to wait upon me, in order that I might become acquainted with “an aristocratic negro.”
“John” was a very smart fellow, and at first sight nearly as white as myself.
In the cars I was introduced to General Samuel Houston
, the founder of Texan independence.
He told me he was born in Virginia
seventy years ago, that he was United States
senator at thirty, and governor of Tennessee
He emigrated into Texas
in 1832; headed the revolt of Texas
, and defeated the Mexicans at San Jacinto
then became President
of the Republic
, which he annexed to the United States
of the State
in 1860, he had opposed the secession movement, and was deposed
. Though evidently a remarkable and clever man, he is extremely egotistical and vain, and much disappointed at having to subside from his former grandeur.
The town of Houston
is named after him. In appearance he is a tall, handsome old man, much given to chewing tobacco
, and blowing his nose with his fingers.1
I was also introduced to another “character,” Captain Chubb
, who told me he was a Yankee by birth, and served as coxswain to the United States
He was afterwards imprisoned at Boston
on suspicion of being engaged in the slave trade; but he escaped.
At the beginning of this war he was captured by the Yankees
, when he was in command of the Confederate States
steamer Royal Yacht
, and taken to New York in chains, where he was condemned to be hung as a pirate; but he was eventually exchanged.
I was afterwards told that the slave-trading escapade of which he was accused consisted in his having hired a colored crew at Boston
, and then coolly selling
them at Galveston
At 1 P. M., we arrived at Virginia Point
, a tetede-pont
at the extremity of the mainland.
battalion was encamped-called also the “swamp angels,” on account of the marshy nature of their quarters, and of their predatory and irregular habits.
The railroad then traverses a shallow lagoon (called Galveston Bay
) on a trestle-bridge two miles long; this leads to another tete-de-pont
on Galveston island
, and in a few minutes the city is reached.
In the train I had received the following message by telegraph from Colonel Debray
, who commands at Galveston
: “Will Col. Fremantle
sleep to-night at the house of a blockaded rebel?”
I answered:--“Delighted;” and was received at the terminus by Captain Foster
of the Staff
, who conducted me in an ambulance to headquarters, which were at the house of the Roman Catholic
I was received there by Colonel Debray
and two very gentlemanlike French priests.
We sat down to dinner at 2 P. M., but were soon interrupted by an indignant drayman, who came to complain of a military outrage.
It appeared that immediately after I had left the cars, a semi-drunken Texan of Pyron
's regiment had desired this drayman to stop, and upon the latter declining to do so, the Texan
fired five shots at him from his “six-shooter,” and the last shot killed the drayman's horse.
(who is a Louisianian, and very sarcastic about Texas
) said that the regiment would probably hang the soldier for being such a disgraceful bad shot
After dinner Colonel Debray
took me into the observatory, which commands a good view of the city, bay, and gulf.
is situated near the eastern end of an island thirty miles long by three and a half wide.
Its houses are well built; its streets are long, straight, and shaded with trees; but the city was now desolate, blockaded, and under military law. Most of the houses were empty, and bore many marks of the illdirected fire of the Federal
ships during the night of the 1st of January last.
The whole of Galveston Bay
is very shallow, except a narrow channel of about a hundred yards immediately in front of the now deserted wharves.
The entrance to this channel is at the northeastern extremity of the island, and is defended by the new works which are now in progress there.
It is also blocked up with piles, torpedoes, and other obstacles.
The blockaders were plainly visible about four miles from land; they consisted of three gunboats and an ugly paddle steamer, also two supplyves-sels.
The wreck of the Confederate
(destroyed in her attack on the Harriet Lane
), was close off one of the wharves.
That of the Westfield
(blown up by the Yankee Commodore
), was off Pelican Island
In the night of the 1st January, General Magruder
suddenly entered Galveston
, placed his field-pieces along the line of wharves, and unexpectedly opened fire in the dark upon the Yankee
war vessels at a range of about one hundred yards; but so heavy (though badly directed) was the reply from the ships, that the field-pieces had to be withdrawn.
The attack by Colonel Cook
upon a Massachusetts regiment fortified at the end of a wharf, also failed, and the Confederates
thought themselves “badly whipped.”
But after daylight the fortunate surrender of the Harriet Lane
to the cotton-boat Bayou City
, and the extraordinary conduct of Commodore Renshaw
, converted a Confederate disaster into the recapture of Galveston
certainly deserves immense credit for his boldness in attacking a heavily armed naval squadron with a few field-pieces and two river steamers protected with cotton bales and manned with Texan cavalry soldiers.
I rode with Colonel Debray
to examine Forts Scurry, Magruder, Bankhead, and Point
These works have been ingeniously designed by Colonel Sulokowski
(formerly in the Austrian army), and they were being very well constructed by one hundred and fifty whites and six hundred blacks under that officer's superintendence, the blacks being lent by the neighboring planters.
Although the blockaders can easily approach to within three miles of the works, and although one
shell will always “stampede” the negroes, yet they have not thrown any for a long time.2
is a broad-shouldered Frenchman, and is a very good fellow.
He told me that he emigrated to America
in 1848; he raised a company in 1861, in which he was only a private; he was next appointed aid-de-camp to the governor of Texas
, with the rank of brigadier-general; he then descended to a major of infantry, afterwards rose to a lieutenant-colonel of cavalry, and is now colonel.
is properly on Magruder
's Staff, and is very good company.
His property at New Orleans had been destroyed by the Yankees
In the evening we went to a dance given by Colonel Manly
, which was great fun. I danced an American cotillion with Mrs. Manly
; it was very violent exercise, and not the least like any thing I had seen before.
A gentleman stands by shouting out the different figures to be performed, and every one obeys his orders with much gravity and energy.
is a very gentlemanlike Carolinian
; the ladies were pretty, and, considering the blockade, they